It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4
Anytime we wish that we had things the way someone else does we will get ourself into trouble. Envy will change our entire focus and it will become the driving force behind all that we do. If we envy the possessions of another person, we may allow the desire to get more stuff to impact the giving of our time or of our tithe. Or worse, we may even resort to dishonesty or stealing. And if we envy the success or attention someone else has, we may find ourselves working with flawed intentions. Setting out to make ourselves look good instead of fulfilling God’s purposes. Seeking the approval of men and not working for God.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. – James 3:16
And whatever it is that we may envy about someone else, the envy we harbor will eat away at us and cause us to feel resentment towards them and it will be nearly impossible to love them once our heart has been hardened by envy.
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. – Proverbs 14:30
On the flip-side of envy is boastfulness and pride. It is no more loving to be puffed up about the areas God has blessed us in. We must remember that if God has blessed us with certain gifts, whether money or talents or whatever – he has only done this so that these gifts can be used to bless others. Our God-given gifts are for his glory, not our own. If someone is struggling in an area, they don’t want to hear about how much better off we are. Even our offer to help someone can be unloving if the intent in our heart is to highlight our blessings.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10
Sometimes we even boast about how much worse we have it. Someone confides in us about a problem they’re facing and instead of offering to pray or to help, we quickly “one-up” their struggle with three of our own. Pridefulness in any form seeks to place the attention on our self and goes against the very definition of selfless agape love.
No matter how you look at it, whether we wish we had what someone else does (envy) or we are puffed up about our own blessings (pride) – both of these attitudes will greatly hamper our ability to show agape love to someone. Agape love rejoices with others. Agape love is humble and thankful. Agape love sees circumstances (ours or someone else’s) as opportunities provided by God for his glory.